Friday, June 24, 2022

Dortmund boss expects Aubameyang to stay… for now

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Hans-Joachim Watzke

Borussia Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says he expects star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to remain with the Bundesliga giants, for now.

The Gabon hot-shot has hit 28 goals this season, including the hat-trick against Benfica on Wednesday which fired Dortmund into the Champions League’s quarter-finals.

He has scored seven goals in three games prior to Saturday’s league match at Hertha Berlin.

The 27-year-old has a contract with Dortmund until 2020, but admitted in January that he is considering leaving in June to take ‘the next step’ in his career.

He has made no secret he wants to eventually join Real Madrid to fulfil a promise he made to his grandfather just before he passed away.

“‘Auba’ has a contract until 2020. We know what we have in him, but he also knows what he has with us,” Watzke told German daily Bild.

Watzke says Aubameyang knows Dortmund’s squad, including Germany’s Marco Reus, plus teenagers Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic, has the potential to challenge Bayern Munich’s domination of the German league.

“I have not had the feeling on a single day since he has been with us that ‘Auba’ wants to leave and I believe that he feels that a big team is growing here,” said Watzke.

“I also see how he gets on well with players like Dembele, Reus or Pulisic and all the others.

“That’s why I’m not thinking about it (Aubameyang leaving) at the moment.”

But should Dortmund’s prized hot-shot put in a transfer request, Watzke says they will not stop him.

“What he have said is that if ‘Auba’ wants to leave us, we will get together and discuss everything in peace, but, like I said, I do not have the feeling that is the case,” said Watzke.

Should Aubameyang leave in June, Dortmund can command a much higher fee than the 13 million euros ($13.7m) they reportedly paid Saint-Etienne for him in 2013. His current market value is around 65m euros.

Having had to watch Robert Lewandowski leave for arch-rivals Bayern in 2014 on a free transfer, Dortmund will not want to make the same mistake twice.

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